By Andrew Cohen
The U.S. Senate has confirmed Berkeley Law classmates Jon Tigar ’89 and Fernando Olguin ’89 to serve as federal judges in California. Tigar will join the Northern District court in San Francisco, and Olguin will join the Central District court in Los Angeles.
Tigar has been an Alameda County Superior Court judge since 2002, presiding over civil, criminal, and family law cases. Previously, he worked as a partner at Keker & Van Nest, a trial attorney for the Public Defender’s Office in San Francisco, and a litigation associate at Morrison & Foerster.
U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Cal.), who advocated for Tigar’s confirmation, said “his distinguished and diverse legal career will make him a superb addition to the bench.”
A Berkeley Law lecturer who teaches litigation skills, Tigar also assists the law school’s Center for Youth Development through Law. He won the Berkeley Law Young Alumnus Award in 2006, and received an award from the State Bar of California for his pro bono work.
Tigar is an adviser to the American Law Institute’s forthcoming Restatement of Torts and a member of the California Judicial Council Advisory Committee on Civil Jury Instructions. He also sits on the board of directors of the Alameda County Bar Association’s Volunteer Legal Services Corporation.
After graduating from Berkeley Law, Tigar clerked for Judge Robert Vance of the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Birmingham, Alabama.
The Northern District of California stretches from the Monterey Coast to the state’s border with Oregon, and from the Pacific Ocean nearly to Sacramento County. More than 7.3 million people live in the district, which includes San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose.
Helping a busy district
Olguin has been a U.S. Magistrate Judge in California’s Central District, which carries the nation’s seventh-highest civil caseload, since 2001. The district is comprised of seven counties—Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura—and contains about 18.5 million people, nearly half the state’s population.
The first in his family to attend and graduate from college, Olguin received backing from U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Cal.). Her statement supporting Olguin’s confirmation hailed his “stellar record” and called him “well-qualified, seasoned, and fair.”
Before becoming a judge, Olguin spent six years as a partner at Traber, Voorhees & Olguin, where he handled housing, labor, and civil rights cases. From 1994 to 1995, he was the education program director at the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund. He also worked as a trial attorney in the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division from 1991 to 1994, enforcing the Fair Housing Act and the Public Accommodations Act.
As a magistrate judge, Olguin has served on many district court judicial committees. He is a member of the American Bar Association’s Litigation Section and Judicial Division, the Federal Bar Association, the Federal Magistrate Judges Association, the Hispanic National Bar Association, the Los Angeles County Bar Association, and the Mexican-American Bar Association. Olguin has also been vice-president and treasurer of the Centro Latino for Literacy’s Board of Directors.
Like Tigar, Olguin began his legal career as a judicial clerk, working for U.S. District Court Judge Carl Muecke in Arizona.